With the college basketball season fast approaching, teams across the country are gearing up for a run toward March Madness, and the Quinnipiac Bobcats are no exception. This year’s team has high hopes on scoring an invitation to the Big Dance. The optimism about the upcoming season is led by senior and team captain Craig Benson, who figures to be one of the go-to guys for head coach Joe DeSantis.
Benson, who grew up in Hamden, is one of three seniors on the squad, along with guard Nick Tipson and forward Kevin Jolley, and figures to be a core player on both sides of the ball. He is coming off a junior season in which he was second on the team with 12.3 points per game and 48 three-pointers made, as well as adding 2.4 rebounds per game and 1.5 assists per game. When asked about the added pressure of being one of the team’s leaders, Benson noted that it won’t be any different than his past seasons.
“I don’t think it’s any more pressure,” Benson said. “You just got to do what you normally do, and that’s coming in and working hard every day. Only good things will come out.”
Describing the sentiment of his final season with the Bobcats, Benson says he has mixed emotions.
“This may be the last time I ever touch a basketball, my last go-round here at Quinnipiac. It should be a fun year,” Benson said.
While going through his off-season routine, Benson went on to say that it’s not just the physical aspects he worked on.
“I’m trying to be more mentally focused, more mentally in it this year. Of course there’s shooting and lifting, and all that goes into it, but I’m more focused on the mental aspect,” Benson said.
The team has a new look this year with players like Rob Monroe and C.J. Vick having graduated, and John Winchester having arrived from the University of Tennessee.
“We’re looking good so far, we’re still learning to gel with each other, and instead of one player being the focus this year, I think it’s more of a team aspect now,” Benson said.
Fans can expect to see the same run-and-gun style of offense with the new team, and Benson believes Winchester will fit right in with this scheme.
“John’s looking good,” Benson said. “He should definitely be a key component this year in helping us achieve what we want to achieve.”
The Bobcats have struggled with meeting expectations recently, failing to make the NEC tournament the past two seasons. But Benson believes not only will the Bobcats make the NEC tournament this time around, but maybe even another NCAA tournament appearance as well.